Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and John Dingell (D-MI) re-introduced a bill this past week to increase by a minimum of 20,000 the number of Iraqi refugees we will bring to the US each year. Now it’s not clear to me if this is 20,000 over the State Department’s 12,000 and over the additional 5000 Congress (Sen. Ted Kennedy) shoved down the Administration’s throat attached to the Defense Authorization bill earlier in the year.
Here is a portion of Hastings press release in which he thanks the groups who are supporting this effort. NGO’s would get increased funding to do this work if the bill passes.
(Washington, D.C.) Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, lauded prominent non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and religious groups for their support of the Iraqi Refugee and Internally Displaced Persons Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement, and Security Act (H.R. 6496). The following organizations have endorsed this legislation: The Campaign for Innocent Victims of Conflict (CIVIC), Church World Service, Congregation of Divine Providence of San Antonio, Education for Peace in Iraq (EPIC), International Rescue Committee, the Leadership Conference on Women Religious, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Mercy Center, Mercy Corps, NETWORK, Open Society Policy Center, Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement, the Presbyterian Church (USA), Refugees International, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Sisters of St. Joseph NW PA, and Save the Children.
Last night, Hastings and Dingell reintroduced H.R.6496, which addresses the impending humanitarian crisis and potential security break-down as a result of the mass influx of Iraqi refugees into neighboring countries, and the growing internally displaced population in Iraq, by increasing directed accountable assistance to these populations and their host countries as well as facilitating the resettlement of Iraqis at risk.
Read the bill (HR 6496) here (you will need to re-enter the bill number). I couldn’t find any mention of how we could help refugees already returning to an increasingly stable Iraq. I am such a cynic, but there is nothing in it for these groups if Iraqis go home.
And, as for the comment above that the internally displaced population is growing, where are they getting that information?